tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 8, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
fighting words. the republicans attack. >> can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney. >> gingrich unloads on romney with time running out in new hampshire. bombshell book. a new page turner about michelle obama. tonight what's reel really goin in the white house. tragedy in tucson, one year later gabby giffords returns to the scene of that awful day. drug shortage. doctors sound the alarm, why can't patients get some of the most popular prescription drugs in america. and making the grade. easing the stress of college with a little help from man's best friend. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. maybe it was a lack of rest or maybe they didn't like the overnight reviews, but barely 12 hours after exchanging mostly mild jabs on a new hampshire debate stage last night, the gop candidates were back at it this morning. this time swinging haymakers at the nbc news/facebook debate. some of the heaviest blows aimed at mitt romney, slipping in the latest new hampshire tracking poll, which also finds significant volatility within the rest of the pack. with less than two days to go, the candidates came out today ready to fight for every vote. our political team is in place. we begin with nbc's peter alexander at a romney rally in exeter, new hampshire. peter, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening to you. now we're hearing from mitt romney's wife ann romney. there have been several interruptions from occupy here tonight.
the new hampshire voters are ruggedly independent, famous for primary surprises. with that in mind, republican candidates hope to take advantage of today's debate to knock romney off his perch. from the very start, mitt romney's republican rivals tried to cast the front-runner as out of step with mainstream conservatism. >> we want someone who is going to stand up and fight for the conservative principles, not bail out and not run and not run to the left of ted kennedy. >> reporter: newt gingrich challenged romney's authenticity, attacking his efforts to portray himself as a political outsider. >> this for me, politics is not a career. my life's passion has been my family, my faith and my country. >> can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney. the idea citizenship showed up in your minds, level with the american people. >> reporter: romney argued john hunt mnz time working in the obama administration disqualifies him to be the republican nominee.
>> the person who should represent our party running against president obama is not someone who called him a remarkable leader and went to be his ambassador in china. this nation is divided because of attitudes like that. >> the american people are tired of the partisan division. they have had enough. there is no trust left among the american people and the institutions of power. >> reporter: rick santorum tried to derail ron paul's libertarian message. arguing while popular among a growing audience, his policies including a hands off approach to iran aren't practical. >> the problem with congressman paul is all the things that republicans like about him, you can't accomplish and all the thing that they're worried about he'll do day one. >> reporter: paul held his ground, vowing he'll continue to preach what he calls the gospel of liberty, even if it is not politically popular. >> we need to defend liberty. >> right. defend liberty and -- >> and liberty. >> reporter: and in the day's
lightest moment, rick perry trying to pick up the mantle as the tea party candidate, revisited his unforgettable gaffe from an earlier debate where the texas governor couldn't remember the three federal agencies that he would cut. >> it would be those bureaucrats at the department of commerce and energy and education that we're going to do away with. [ applause ] >> and that's your final answer? >> reporter: also here this afternoon in new hampshire, mitt romney told voters that there was a couple of times when he feared he would get fired in his live time. tonight, the romney campaign released a statement saying those times were after college this and romney worked his way up the career ladder knowing his continued employment was by no means guaranteed, but, lester, they gave no specific examples. >> peter alexander. you said it, new hampshire is well known for its fiercely
guarded independence, perhaps best illustrated by the state motto, live free or die. voters there, many of them, proudly independent, work as hard getting to know the candidates as the kennecandidat work to earn their support. ron mott spent some time with them. >> reporter: former state lawmaker frank tupper grabbed his coffee, pen and paper for the debate and watched with a critical eye. >> fact checked. >> reporter: not expecting to be swayed by much of anything he heard and he wasn't. >> they all seem to be cookie cutter to me. >> reporter: an obama supporter four years ago, he's like nearly half of the registered voter, he's an independent and still undecided about tuesday's election. >> let's be honest with ourselves. >> he has a lot of gall coming up here and being in a debate when he hasn't even campaigned here. >> reporter: this line from jon huntsman earned his sparse praise. >> i will always put my country first and i think that's important. >> before party, i like it. >> reporter: largely
dissatisfied with the current gop field and disappointed with the president's record, he says he's left wanting. >> i'm looking for somebody who would be a leader, who would be able to call upon this country, because we're in some real dire straits right now. >> reporter: he and other voters here say there is a disconnect between campaign rhetoric and reality, especially in a down economy. >> i don't know that any one of them can say there will be jobs for these young people. they can say it. will it happen? >> it is easy to run for president. hard to be president. >> my oldest daughter, people say what are you going to do when you graduate, she said, be unemployed and that's the way she feels. >> reporter: it could be difficult for any of the candidates to be president without catering more to independent voters like tupper and his friends. >> this state is divided because of attitudes like that. >> reporter: and pointed to exchanges like the one between mitt romney and huntsman over huntsman's work with the obama administration as a turnoff. >> this is america and we're struggling. it requires everybody, no matter
what political party you are. i'm tired of obstructionists. i'm just tired of that. >> reporter: unlike the voters we met with today, nine in ten say they have settled on a candidate here in new hampshire. >> ron, thanks. to david gregory now, moderator of "meet the press" and the moderator of this morning's contentious debate. the way the rest of the field is going after romney, they didn't seem to be buying into the notion that he'll run away with all of this. >> there was a recognition that they had to do something to slow him down. and as you look at the field, huntsman had an opportunity today and i think he probably came out pretty well in both going after governor romney and giving his campaign up here some new life. he staked his campaign up here. that was really it. the way the debate began really was sort of a last opportunity for them to make the case of why romney can't be the nominee. that's the argument they're trying to make, the voters at this point. he's won iowa. he's ahead in new hampshire.
there is a view in the party he's cruising to the nomination unless somebody can stop him. and talking to people throughout the day, folks thought, yeah, did romney have a target on his back, yeah, but he probably came out at the end still pretty well in tact. i think that's what they're thinking in his camp tonight. >> at the top of the broadcast, i mentioned the latest poll, whdh in boston showed ron paul in a firm second, santorum slipping. jon huntsman gaining traction. what are second and third place worth in terms of perception from here on out? >> the name of the game is consolidating conservative support to be the anti-romney candidate. jon huntsman does not necessarily represent that. that is represented by a perry, gingrich, santorum. so the fact that was a mouthful in your question indicates it is romney against a wider group that still helps him. >> david gregory, david, thanks. overseas tonight, the war of words between the u.s. and iran is escalating over the nuclear program and beyond.
today, the iranians made new threats. we get the latest tonight from our tehran bureau chief. >> reporter: iran announced today it has begun to enrich uranium at a second underground facility well protected from possible air strikes. iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the west suspects iran of developing a nuclear weapons program. still, defense secretary leon panetta had a blunt warning today about nuclear weapons. >> they need to know that if they take that step, that they're going to get stopped. >> reporter: president obama approved but not yet implemented new sanctions that would target its ability to sell oil abroad. today a senior iranian official said iran wouldn't allow a drop of oil to pass through the strait of hormuz if petroleum exports are blocked. a fifth of oil passes through the water way. >> the united states will not tolerate blocking of the straits
of hormuz, that's another red line for us and we will respond to that. >> reporter: iran also warned the carrier "uss stennis" not to return to the persian gulf. that same carrier helped rescue 11 iranian fishermen from pirates last week. while the government called it a positive and humanitarian act, iranian state news agencies dismissed it as a hollywood movie. lester? back in this country, the city of tucson paused today to mark one year since that awful day six people were killed and 13 more wounded, some critically, including congresswoman gabby giffords. today president obama called giffords to offer his support as she made her way back to tucson this weekend. nbc's miguel almaguer is there. >> reporter: at 10:11 a.m. today, across tucson, a time to reflect. in churches, at the hospital where victims were treated, and
outside the safeway where the shooting took place. >> more than one person down. >> reporter: six killed, 13 wounded when a gunman tried to assassinate congresswoman gabrielle giffords. >> i do believe gabby giffords was hit. >> reporter: giffords' recovery has been remarkable, but also she. >> she's still the woman i married. her personality is the same. >> reporter: the victims caught in the hail of gunfire in this parking lot last january 8th were both young and old. christina taylor green was just 9 years old. >> i miss christina terribly. >> reporter: susie took christina to meet giffords and was shot three times and watched christina die. >> i remember lying there holding christina's hand and we were just eyes locked on each other. >> reporter: tucson's tragedy unfolded as a nation grieved. hundreds lined the streets as giffords headed to houston for rehab.
after months of progress, the congresswoman went back to washington. this weekend giffords returned home to tucson, one year later, back at the hospital to thank her doctors. at the safeway to see a new memorial and with husband mark kelly at a trail named after her aide gabe zimmerman. daniel hernandez was the first to reach giffords after she was shot and at a candlelight vigil tonight will see her for first time since the shooting. >> the biggest emotion is just going to be at peace to be surrounded by other people that were there on january 8th. >> reporter: together again, united in both their grief and resolve to move forward. miguel almaguer, nbc news, tucson, arizona. when "nbc nightly news" continues, a presidential page turner, a new book about michelle obama that has the white house up in arms. and later, parents rationing pills to their kids. why are their prescriptions so hard to fill? laces? really? slip-on's the way to go. more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag.
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everything you love about geico, now mobile. download the new geico app today. whee wheeeeeeeeeeee-he-he-heeeeee! we're back now with the spotlight squarely on the first lady of the united states. a revealing new book that examines michelle obama's role in the white house and clashes with some of her husband's closest advisers. the book "the obamas" has a lot of people talking and we get more now from nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: she's one of the most popular political figures in america, beating her husband in the polls. >> your commander in chief, barack obama. >> i'm sure you realize why i don't like following michelle obama. >> reporter: she fought for military families, against childhood obesity, and set new white house standards for physical fitness, style and glamour. but the new book describes a different michelle obama, a reluctant first lady who wanted
to delay her move to the white house, and fumed privately at her husband's staff over the loss of the massachusetts senate seat. the book quotes the president as telling his team, she feels as if our rutter isn't set right. a former aide describes mrs. obama as feeling pressure to look perfect because everyone was waiting for a black woman to make a mistake. other current and former white house officials say that portrait exaggerates the first lady's sensitivity and political involvement. despite a series of clashes with former chief of staff rahm emanuel over health reform. >> it is no secret that he is not a wallflower and not a shrinking violet. >> reporter: today, emanuel responded. >> i have a great relationship with the president and the first lady. >> reporter: former press secretary robert gibbs also denies tension with the first lady, but friends confirm he blew up at obama's senior adviser and friend valerie jarrett over a french book quoting mrs. obama as telling france's first lady that living in the white house was, quote,
hell. >> every day is a very tense working environment. >> reporter: the first lady, a princeton and harvard law graduate, portrayed as struggling with her new role, telling an aide, i don't want to be hillary clinton, i can't be that person. but she recently denied feeling trapped in the white house in an interview with barbara walters. >> someone asked me a question about whether i feel confined or trapped in some way. that couldn't be further from the truth. >> obamas did not give the author an interview for the book, which white house officials say understates the couple's personal relationship previous y infighting is much administrations. andrea mitchell, nbc news, manchester, new hampshire. we wanted to note the passing of tony blankly. he was born in london, but moved to this country early in life. he made his mark in the reagan white house then as press secretary to house speaker newt gingrich and later as a conservative author and
commentator. he passed away last night at suffering from stomach cancer. he was 63 years old. when we come back here tonight, why are some of the most popular prescription drugs in america suddenly so hard to find? i know you're worried about making your savings last and having enough income when you retire. that's why i'm here. to help come up with a plan and get you on the right path. i have more than a thousand fidelity experts working with me so that i can work one-on-one with you. it's your green line. but i'll be there, every step of the way. call or come in for a free portfolio review today.
take a l as she leaped over the world's largest waterfall. 22-year-old erin langworthy was making a new year's jump when her bungee cord snapped. she fell head first into crocodile-infested waters. she swam to safety even though her ankles were still bound together. she is fine after spending a week in the hospital recovering from her injuries. to medical news now, a major shortage of popular prescription drugs. we're talking about medications used to treat add and adhd. so tough for some people to find that a lot of doctors and pharmacists are concerned. and they're sounding the alarm.
tonight, our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman looks at what is going on. >> reporter: for parents like linda whose two sons have adhd, the past few months have been rough. >> we have not been able to get my sons adhd medications. we were told that it was on back order and they had no idea when it was going to come in, become available. >> reporter: she's not alone. there is a nationwide shortage forcing parents like linda to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy. she even rations pills to her sons on weekends. the demand for the medications is higher than ever, with more than 51.5 million prescriptions written in 2010. that's up 11% from the year before. why is this happening? there are more patients, fewer companies making pills, and production glitches. and there is a growing underground market for these drugs with college students using them as performance boosters. >> somehow the government, i think has to get involved and monitor the medication more closely so that the people that really need it and that have
prescriptions for it can get it. >> reporter: complicating the issue, the drug enforcement administration, which regulates these drugs because they can be addictive. critics say the drugs are too tightly controlled by production quotas that determine how many pills can be made per year. >> i think that the dea needs to loosen their production quotas, recognizing that they don't serve the purpose of they intend to and recognize they're really just creating these kinds of shortages. >> reporter: last month the dea responded, raising quotas hoping to improve the situation. then saying, an adequate supply of quota currently exists and any current shortages are a result of manufacturing and distribution decisions made by industry. the dea points to hundreds of other drugs that it doesn't regulate that are also in short supply including drugs for heart disease, cancer and even anesthesia. the pharmaceutical industry says it has long worked to prevent drug shortages in advance and will continue to work closely with the fda to prevent
manufacturing disruptions. but for linda, none of this agency's squabbling helps her at all. >> it is disheartening. it is not fair to the children. it is not fair to the parents. >> reporter: but fair or not, linda and thousands of other parents and patients are stuck in a medication waiting game. dr. nancy snyderman, nbc news, new york. up next here tonight, college kids hitting the books and going to the dogs. what's the matter? uh, trouble with a car insurance claim. ah, claim trouble. [ dennis ] you should just switch to allstate, and get their new claim satisfaction guarantee. hey, he's right man. [ dennis ] only allstate puts their money where their mouth is. yup. [ dennis ] claim service so good, it's guaranteed. [ foreman ] so i can always count on them. unlike randy over there. that's one dumb dude. ♪ the new claim satisfaction guarantee. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate.
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finally tonight, man's best friend has been padding his do gooder resume for years. therapy dogs, now common in nursing homes and children's hospitals, where puppy love triggers smiles that just won't quit. in the past year, doctor therapy expanded to a new setting, the dog eat dog world of academia, especially law schools. we get the story from mike taibbi. >> reporter: exam time. students cramming, crashing between cramming sessions, and now playing with denver and kip. >> you don't want me to stop, do you. >> reporter: it is a program started here by lawyer turned librarian lon wheeler who
guessed that law students need more than a mere distraction during exam time. >> it keeps them under responsible stress management, not binge drinking, or other destructive behaviors. >> reporter: that was matt mcdonald's thinking. instead of joining friends, he chose to spend quality time with denver. >> shake. good boy. >> just makes sense. >> reporter: and it is making sense on campuses around the country now, and not just at law schools, but for undergraduates too. like the crowd that swarmed a puppy palooza day for a single facebook posting. >> in one hour we had 2,000 people attending. >> reporter: it is intuitive, of course. the dog to human relationship triggers smiles at both ends of the leash. >> it is so pure and joyful and you just get to, like, hang out with them and they make you happy. >> reporter: there is science behind the trend too. especially at top law schools where the students suffering depression is triple the grad
student average, if not more. >> by the end of the first year, the statistics are -- have risen to 30%, sometimes in some studies 40% of the student population showing indication of depression. >> reporter: dogs can't solve all your problems. so, kip, don't you think my mother has something to do with it? no, really. but if dogs aren't therapists, they do provide real therapy. >> your blood pressure goes down. down. the flow of good hormones increases and it just helps you feel good. >> reporter: on campuses nationwide the lines form and the signup sheets fill in minutes, just to get a bit of this. a way to get through the rough, rough times. mike taibbi, nbc news, san francisco. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. thanks for watching. and stick around. i'll see you shortly on "dateline." good night.